This weekend, I am with my daughter and her new wife.
Their wedding ceremony was performed outside the United States this spring. Now, we gather as family and friends to celebrate with them.
There will be those who read this column and think that I have lost my mind — and quite possibly my salvation — to win the approval of my children and the world.
Others will think that I have finally become enlightened to the concept that there is no objective truth outside of one’s personal decisions – which need to be respected at all costs.
Well actually, neither of those statements are true.
What is true is that my heart, mind, and soul have been stretched by a truth I have always known –
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
When my daughter first wrote to tell me that she was in a relationship with a woman, I was crushed.
One of the things that are not talked about openly in regards to a parent’s response to their children’s admission of same-sex attraction is the parental grief that many people experience. We all imagine a future for our children and when those futures don’t align with their choices, there is grief which needs to be acknowledged — if only to oneself.
I didn’t respond to her immediately, but I took my grieving heart to prayer. And the Lord had a very interesting insight for me which I hope may help other parents and kids be more loving and respectful of one another’s choices.
As I wrestled with this new revelation in prayer, I heard in my mind: “The truth is in the subject line.”
“What?” I asked impatiently trying to understand this familiar voice I had come to discern as the voice of God in my heart.
Again these words came to mind: “The truth is in the subject line.”
Frustrated, I looked back at the email on my phone.
In fact, there was a topic lovingly placed in the subject line of the email.
It read, “Take your time with this.”
God was indeed clearly speaking to me through my daughter — as he has done since her conception-when he gave me this promise for my unborn child-
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
“Take your time with this,” she wrote and God spoke.
So, for the last three years — I’ve taken lots of time — in prayer and study, in counsel and in love, to do just that: take time to figure out how to stand on the foundational truths of my faith and love my daughter as God created me to love.
There have been more than a few hard conversations as I grappled with our differences and did my best to wrestle with the balance of speaking the truth in love, listening to my daughter’s heart and letting go to let God take care of all of us.
The problem with taking time with these important issues is that we live in a fast-paced society where media, whether social or not —demands us to make life-defining judgments and decisions with the stroke of a key.
I refuse to do that and instead, the time has afforded me some wisdom gained from prayer and observation.
If one stands for traditional marriage, it’s considered hate. If another chooses to stand for same-sex attraction and marriage, others consider this an abomination which requires immediate repentance in order for us to live peaceably with one another. Neither of these responses is respectful of the other and neither leads to love.
I see two things very clearly: We are all too quick to judge. And we all need to take more time to love.
So, while I may be crucified on all sides of these issues for doing too much or too little for those I love, I’m just going to keep taking the sweet time the good Lord gives me on this earth to keep loving and leaving the rest up to God.
I don’t have to agree with anyone on everything — but I do have to love another as myself and as God has loved me.
The rest is in his hands.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:11-12.
The most important lesson I have learned in taking my time with all of this is a truth which the Bible shows me: in the end, love wins.
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